• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer

Buff-breasted Sandpiper


IUCN Conservation Status: Near Threatened

A delicate dove-headed shorebird, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper is found primarily in migration in areas of short grass. It migrates primarily through the middle of the continent from its arctic breeding grounds to southern South America.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
7.1–7.9 in
18–20 cm
1.6–2.8 oz
46–78 g
Other Names
  • Bécasseau roussâtre (French)
  • Correlimos canelo, Chorlito canela (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Buff-breasted Sandpiper is unique among North American shorebirds in having a lek mating system. Males defend relatively small territories that provide no resources for females and are simply display sites to which females can be attracted. Females select a mate and then leave to nest and raise their chicks elsewhere.



Breeds in dry, grassy tundra. On migration and in winter found in dry grasslands (usually short grass), pastures, plowed fields and, rarely, mudflats.




Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
2–5 eggs
Condition at Hatching
Active and covered with down.
Nest Placement



Ground Forager


status via IUCN

Near Threatened

Buff-breasted Sandpiper populations once numbered in the hundreds of thousands to millions, but by the 1920s hunting had brought this species close to extinction. Once regulations were put in place, numbers increased, but they appear to be declining again. Because these birds do not always return to the same breeding and wintering sites, numbers are difficult to monitor, but data from migration sites in North American migration sites estimate the current population at 16,000-84,000 individuals. This species is on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action.


  • Lanctot, R. B. and C. D. Laredo. 1994. Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis). In The Birds of North America, No. 91 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists' Union.
  • BirdLife International. 2012. Calidris subruficollis . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22705159A39394552
  • North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee. 2014. State of the Birds 2014 Report. U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, DC.

Range Map Help

Buff-breasted Sandpiper Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings


Or Browse Bird Guide by Family, Name or Shape
bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. You can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell or give your email address to others.